36 user 27 critic

Eyewitness (1981)

Eccentric Vietnam War vet turned janitor claims to have witnessed a murder of a man tied to international political underground in order to get the attention of a TV reporter he has a huge crush on. The cops suspect his loser best friend.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Sokolow
Mr. Deever
Linda Mercer
Mr. Sokolow
Mrs. Eunice Deever
Sharon Chatten ...
Israeli Woman (as Sharon Goldman)
Mr. Long's Son
Dennis Sakamoto ...
Vietnamese Man #1


Manhattan janitor Daryll Deever is fixated on hard-charging TV commentator, Tony Sokolow; he tapes her commentary daily to watch after work. When a wealthy Vietnamese man, with many shady connections, is murdered in the office building where Daryll works, Tony shows up to cover the story and Daryll introduce himself. She thinks he may know something, so she pursues him; he pretends he might to keep her interested. This romantic cat and mouse game goes on under the watchful eyes of the killers, who think that Daryll and Tony do know something. The killers start their own game of cat and mouse. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Only the best murder cases make the six o'clock news. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 February 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Janitor Can't Dance  »

Box Office


$8,500,000 (estimated)


$6,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


One in a cycle of early 1980s thrillers, with a voyeuristic stalking/peeping tom killer. The movies include The Fan (1981), Eyewitness (1981), Body Double (1984), The Seduction (1982), Visiting Hours (1982), and Eyes of a Stranger (1981). See more »


There is a security camera very obviously placed in the outer office outside of where the murder takes place, yet during the investigation no mention is made of it. However, perhaps (circa 1981) it's a closed-circuit, live feed only (no recordings made), and no one viewing the live security screens noticed anything unusual. See more »


Lt. Jacobs: Whoever killed Long is a hero in my book.
See more »


Spoofed in Hot Shots! (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

great actors in flawed thriller
4 December 2016 | by See all my reviews

Vietnam war hero and Manhattan janitor Daryll Deever (William Hurt) is obsessed with hard-nosed TV reporter Tony Sokolow (Sigourney Weaver). A shady Vietnamese businessman is murdered in his office building. He was complaining about Daryll's racist fellow vet coworker Aldo (James Woods). Aldo has an alibi in Daryll's girlfriend and Aldo's sister Linda (Pamela Reed). It's a lie and he's come into a lot of money. Tony investigates the story and concentrates on Daryll who secretly found the body and pretends to know something to stay close to her. Her Jewish activist boyfriend Joseph (Christopher Plummer) is hiding a secret. Police detectives Lt. Jacobs (Steven Hill) and Lt. Black (Morgan Freeman) are investigating. Mysterious Vietnamese men are watching.

There are some great actors in this. I checked this out despite never heard of it. It has lots of interesting bits. This would work better with a creepier Hurt. He's very capable and his obsession starts that way. I think Linda gets into the way and she's not a necessary character. There are little disjointed and oddly superfluous moments like his dog attacking. Then the movie takes a really outlandish turn. It's too bad because this could have been a solid simple thriller. The turn ties together two parts of the story that really has no connection to each other. It becomes flat at that point.

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